UAW presses Flex-N-Gate on wages, worker treatment

By Brianna Valleskey
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 14, 2013 11:46 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:48 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Injection Molding

DETROIT -- UAW members and supporters rallied Wednesday at a Flex-N-Gate plant in Warren, Mich., and other company facilities to bring attention to what the union cites as mistreatment of workers and lagging wages and benefits.

The automotive supplier -- owned by billionaire Shahid Khan and based in Urbana, Ill. -- has become a high-profile target of the UAW.

UAW President Bob King has made organizing a top priority to rebuild the union's membership ranks. After several years of concessions and givebacks, prompted by the auto industry's downturn, the union is also pressing to enhance wage and benefits for existing workers.

The union held rallies at seven Flex-N-Gate plants in five states to secure a better contract for employees and organize workers at another plant. About 40 percent of the company's U.S. operations are unionized.

Ahead of Wednesday's rallies, the UAW said the demonstrations would "shine a light on the company's treatment of workers at its nonunion facilities" and "support … workers bargaining for new contracts."

Greg Stoey, vice president of the UAW local that represents employees at Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich., said it was important to show solidarity and rally around workers at the Warren plant.

The union's chief concerns are contracts, wages and safety for Flex-N-Gate workers, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said.

Estrada said employees at non-unionized Flex-N-Gate plants earn about $10 per hour even if they have more than 10 years of service with the supplier.

UAW workers at Flex-N-Gate operations earn about $14 per hour, she said.

Working conditions at the company's non-unionized plants are worse than at unionized plants, Estrada added.

"These aren't just allegations," she said. "There's been (NLRB) charges against [Flex-N-Gate]."

Workers at a Flex-N-Gate plant in Texas have been illegally terminated or disciplined for trying to unionize there, according to a National Labor Relations Board order and decision issued last June.

"They want a voice in the workplace, and we want to help them with that as much as we can," said Tiffany Bush, a UAW member who works at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"Flex-N-Gate associates receive competitive wages, enjoy quality growth opportunities and benefit from our ongoing commitment to safe working conditions," the company said in statement to Automotive News on Tuesday. "The vast majority of Flex-N-Gate associates are happy with their employment."

Khan, with a net worth estimated at $2.5 billion by Forbes and who also owns the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars, was also targeted by the UAW and union allies during last year's NFL draft.

"We're getting too much taken from us," Keely Bell, a member of UAW Local 140 in Warren, a suburb that borders Detroit's northeast side. "It's time to stand together and say, 'We've had enough.'"

Flex-N-Gate ranks No. 56 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide parts sales to automakers of $3.4 billion in 2011.


Comments

UAW presses Flex-N-Gate on wages, worker treatment

By Brianna Valleskey
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 14, 2013 11:46 am ET
Updated: February 14, 2013 11:48 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Jarden hiring for new plastics plant

December 19, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Consumer products conglomerate Jarden Corp. is hiring plastics technicians for a new operation in Erlanger, Ky.    More

Image

The return of HPM's big presses

December 19, 2014 11:47 am ET

HPM is back in big injection molding machines.    More

Image

Sabic: Rapid demand growth led to Ultem shortage

December 18, 2014 12:06 pm ET

Sabic Innovative Plastics has been increasing production capacity for its Ultem polyetherimide but it still got caught short by increasing demand for ...    More

Auto supplier M-Tek relocating headquarters

December 18, 2014 3:37 pm ET

M-Tek Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese automotive supplier Kasai Kogyo Co. Ltd., will build a new North American corporate headquarters in Murfreesboro,...    More

Image

Indian auto parts maker set to buy assets in Germany, Mexico

December 18, 2014 10:35 am ET

Indian auto parts maker Samvardhana Motherson Gropup is buying the assets of insolvent German plastics car parts producer Scherer & Trier (S&T).    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events